The Grad Trip Guide 2019 - Live Life for Less!
Congratulations! You’ve completed all your modules, aced your final exams, and signed off another chapter of formal education. It’s time to treat yourself, and what better way than a once-in-a-lifetime experience with the great people you’ve met throughout your time in university?
The lustre of travelling the world is a desirable one, but it doesn’t come cheap - a particularly big problem when you’re a fresh graduate. CheapTickets.sg shares the lowdown on the must-dos before embarking on the pre-adulting adventure, and three destinations this year that go hard on the experiences, but easy on the wallet.
Already have a location in mind? Don’t go - we’ve some tips that might help nonetheless!
If not, check out some trip destination ideas for every kind of traveller you and your friends are.
Home to some of the greatest icons in pop culture today, there’s no better place to go for a rising star like you to shine! No matter what you partake in - sport, theatre, food, or parties - there’s something for everyone in the capital of England.
The city has a plethora of must-see landmarks, and entry fees to attractions do add up if you’re travelling for an extended period of time. The London Pass is your best friend here - not only do you get to enter places like the Tower of London, the Shard, and various football stadiums including Wembley and the Emirates, the pass includes a 1-day hop-on hop-off London bus tour that showcases the unique British scenery as you scoot to and fro.
Staying for longer, but wish to save on transport? The Oyster Card is an essential tool that gets you access to all of London’s public transport networks, including the London Underground, the Docklands Light Rail, overground trains, and the famed red buses. The best part? Daily credit limits mean that all transfers are free after your third journey, letting you save on two fronts as you bustle along in the busiest city in Britain.
Pro Tip: Do not, and I mean do not, take private transport - London roads are notorious for congestion, which means that you won’t get anywhere faster. Taxi prices are extravagantly high as well, which won’t make your grad trip any easier. If you’re considering renting a vehicle, parking spaces are limited within the city as well, so do think twice unless if you’re planning on driving around the rest of the United Kingdom.
You will be forgiven if you haven’t heard of this place, but you will definitely be familiar with some of the icons it holds or is associated with - Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world; Kali Gandaki, the tallest gorge in the world; and Siddartha Gautama, otherwise known as Buddha. A city steeped in cultural history, its high-altitude plains are home to breathtaking views all around. Also, the cost of living is less than half of that in Singapore, so you can spend weeks there with minimal damage.
One attraction not to miss is the Boudhanath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the country. Entrenched in the old trade routes between Nepal and Tibet, the shrine is as aesthetically awe-inspiring as it is significant to the country’s religious community.
Nepal also houses the beginning of Mount Everest’s southbound route, where climbers ascend via its southeast ridge. Various expedition guides (complete with equipment and expert Sherpas) are available if you’re a novice without any experience, or a seasoned climber with your eyes on the prize. If you’re feeling up for the climb of a lifetime, booking the next flight to Nepal will be your first step to greatness.
Pro Tip: One thing you may notice all around Kathmandu are the colorful Tibetan flags that waft idyllically over shrines and other religious monuments. These Buddhist prayer flags come in five colours, representing fire, water, earth, air, and wind, and are hung such that they are never still - their vibrations are interpreted as silent prayers constantly emanating through the wind that carries them. Intrigued? There’s plenty to discover about the religion that guides over 500 million people around the world - a much-needed enlightenment before embarking on the road to adulthood.
Previously known as Rangoon, the city of Yangon is the largest city of Myanmar. Nestled within the ASEAN region, expect flights to be much cheaper than long-haul routes halfway across the world, without scrimping on the experience.
Browse in over 2000 shops at Bogyoke Aung San Market, which houses Myanmar’s largest collection of souvenirs under a colonial-era roof. Walk the People’s Square and Park and take in the majestic Shwedagon Pagoda from across the river. Stay for the sunset at Kandawgyi Lake, and round the night off at Utopia Tower’s full range of bars, restaurants, and karaoke booths.
Food lovers need not fret in Yangon as well. Burmese cuisine is often overlooked by its louder, spicier Thai cousin, but holds several nuggets just waiting to be uncovered. Street food is an integral part of Myanmar’s culture, and there are no shortage of food stands scattered all around the streets of Yangon. Be sure to try the mohinga, a rice noodle-fish broth concoction considered by many to be the national dish of Myanmar.
Pro Tip: While the rows and rows of street food lined up along every street will get you hungry all the time, do exercise discretion - some vendors may be more conscious about food safety than others. Be especially careful if you’ve a tummy that’s prone to frequent upsets, and bring along personal medication in case an unforeseen bout of indigestion threatens to ruin your entire trip.
1. Get an MCA (Multi-currency Account)
If you’re going to be shuttling from country to country, chances are you’ll encounter some currency-related issues somewhere along the trip. In times of need, a credit or debit card with instant access to several currencies may be your saving grace.
Two official banks of Singapore offer their versions of the multi-currency account: DBS offers the Multi-Currency Account, and UOB has the MightyFX Debit Card. We’ve collated a list of benefits each account offers, but we encourage you to do their own research to figure out which account best suits your needs. (P.S. if you’re a serial online shopper, these accounts may have added bonuses for you!)
If you’re headed to Europe or the USA, your best bet would be to stick with your current bank, as you will be more familiar with their digital banking interface. This is important as you will be using it very frequently to convert currency at your preferred rates. However, if you’re headed to countries that use currencies in bold above, do note that these currencies are bank-exclusive - you’d be able to hold Norwegian kroner (NOK) in a DBS MCA but not in a UOB MightyFX account, and vice versa for Swiss francs (CHF).
One key feature that these multi-currency accounts provide is the ability to ‘lock in’ certain currencies at favorable rates. If you’re headed to Europe in three months but the exchange rate now will get you more value, you can convert at the current rate and keep the Euros at no extra cost! Add the perk of withdrawing cash in a foreign country without extravagant admin fees, and there really is no excuse not to get one. Do note that you should still bring some cash over during your trip, just in case!
2. Book a Multi-City Flight
Want to check several countries off your list, but at the lowest possible cost? Booking a multi-city flight lets you touch down in one country and head home from another, saving you time and money. The best part? It’s as easy as booking a return ticket!
Say you’re looking to bask in the Santorini sun in Greece, before checking off countries up north via the extensive train and bus networks that Europe offers, ending off at Germany and flying over to the United Kingdom, and eventually heading home from there. Booking on a platform that offers multi-city flight options, like CheapTickets.sg, allows you to search for the cheapest options across various airports and flight times, all from one website.
Remember the days where you had to book flights one by one? Oh, the horror. Thankfully, with CheapTickets.sg, you’ll only have to pay once - we collate everything you select, from baggage to legroom requests, into one nicely wrapped package.
Whether you’re jumping on the bandwagon and headed overseas with all your friends for one last hurrah, or taking the road less travelled and finding yourself again, CheapTickets.sg can get you there - less hassle, less hurt on the wallet. Grad trip only happens once, so don’t sleep - book your next flight with us today!